With one very notable and horrific recent exception, Albuquerque is experiencing two spikes in cause of death, but predominantly only hearing/reading about one. The seemingly every day report of a homicide by gun has our murder rate to that level which elicits cringing gallows humor and civic embarrassment.
— Kevin Murray (@claystorm) April 5, 2018
— Elise Kaplan (@EliseKapNM) April 4, 2018
Meanwhile, the spiral in death, sometimes homicide, by those walking around our area is hitting similar record highs.
Last year through March, New Mexico experienced 15 pedestrian deaths in a year that ended with a record high annual total of 79. So far, 2018 is poignantly saying “Hold my beer..,” with an astounding 24 pedestrian fatalities through March.
As the overall traffic death rate has come off its records highs of a few years ago, the death rate for walkers has done just the opposite. For March, a full third of all deaths were pedestrians. As mentioned here many times, when one considers the sheer number of walkers versus drivers, such high percentages deserve just as much civic embarrassment as our ridiculous murder rate.
In wake of the recent killing of 12-year-old Eliza “Justine” Almuina in the crosswalk at Louisiana Boulevard and Natalie Avenue, we’ve heard much more in the past two weeks about her death and issues of road infrastructure around schools, but the drum beat that is dying by walking around town continues to do so unremittingly.
Today we read of a man taken off life support after being struck by a driver days ago at Flying J Truck Stop on 98th and I-40. The driver fled, and while this story is just as heartbreaking and maddening as any other on the subject, it’s encouraging that the Journal’s Matthew Reisen writes, and the Journal publishes, more detail than is typical for pedestrian deaths, and that connection is made between dying by walking and our overall murder epidemic:
The city has seen 19 homicides so far this year, with five resulting in arrests.
It is very true that those in a particular advocacy community will express outrage that “their” issue is under-reported in a way that implies, or explicitly states, that other issues are over-reported. Let it be said that Albuquerque’s outrageous homicide rate deserves every bit of reportage it gets, and more, and those reports will hopefully also raise continued and meaningful dialogue on how we got here, and what we can, and must, do about that.
The same can be said for those killed while walking our roads.